A New Beginning

It was exciting but at the same time scary. It was exciting because I was coming to a new country with a different culture, different people who speak a different language. It was also scary because I did not have my family around whom I could go to when in difficulties. I remember my mom telling me not to worry, that I will be fine, but she added something like: “Choose your friends wisely and you will be fine”. This is when I was coming from Burundi to Kenya to pursue my degree.

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I was just 18 and it was my first time traveling alone. Do you ever get that feeling that everything else is going to be different from now on and you get a sense of anxiety just from the idea that things are what they are? That was me. I got here in Nairobi, on my own, and had to attend English classes the following day before transferring to college. For those who know Burundi, it is a French-speaking country. That meant I had to attend English classes for me to get a certificate that indicated that I had completed my English classes, which was a necessity for me to join campus.

The first few days were not easy. I was staying alone and did not have any friends at all and this made things worse because I am that type of person who likes to be around people. It used to be a routine lifestyle for me where I would go to school and then come to my room after. It was a bit depressing but fortunately for me after a few days, I got to meet with other people from my country and at a certain moment, I felt like I was home. It brought up a smile on my face, but I kept remembering the words that my mom told me before leaving home, “Choose your friends wisely” (A story for another day)

But have you ever been in a country where you speak a totally different language from that of the natives, and you do not know how to start a conversation at a times? That was my first culture shock I experienced when I got here. Throughout my childhood, I spoke French and Kirundi (my native language). As a result of this, it was challenging for me when it came to interacting with other people and especially when it came to shopping and bargaining (the shopping lovers can relate). Apart from that, there are other challenges that I met along the way and advantages that I benefited from the new experience. I mean it has been four years now and hey, look who is running a blog in English? Yees, It is meee. Well, there is always a positive side to any experience in life. All new beginnings are good for the soul but can sometimes be a bit scary. I will be sharing with you more of the challenges and benefits in my next post. Stay posted.briana-tozour-759171-unsplash

I would like to know, how was your experience while moving to a new country or going to study abroad? Please care to share with me your story in the comments section.

Sending sunshine your way,

Have a productive week ahead

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33 thoughts on “A New Beginning

    1. Thank you Melina. I know, I always remembered her words but chose to ignore them but now I got to understand what she meant.

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  1. Hey?? J’ai vecu le meme truc que toi meme si je dirais que c’etait pas au meme niveau… je suis en france, je viens d’un pays francophone (le burundi😊) mais y’a des fois quand je parlais avec un français ,les mots m’echappaient , je buggais complement ou je trouvais qu’on avait des expressions differentes mais ce qui est bien ici C’est que generalement personne ne se moque de toi car il y’a beaucoup de gens avec des origines differentes et ça te met à l’aise peu importe les erreurs que tu dis ou que ton accent soit incomprehensible….. mais au debut je me sentais bizarre a chaque fois que je disais un truc pas correct mais au fur et a mesure j’ai pris l’habitude … car au bout du compte le français c’est pas ma langue maternelle

    Voila…

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    1. Merci d’avoir partage ton histoire Cena. Quelques fois les gens d’ici ne pretent pas vraiment attention a ces petites erreurs de grammaire parce que c’est pas notre langue maternelle, c’est a force de vouloir parler qu’eux que ca nous tracasse. Je suis sur que ton francais mainent est trop bon.

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  2. Well for me i wouldn’t say that i had barriers in terms of languages, plus i had alot of friends and families here( Canada).
    But what was so hard for me, is that i had expected alot and nothing seemed to work as i had expected.
    Well you said culture shock, for me it was a real big one,haha
    I remember that for my first few months here (Canada),every time i finished my classes, i would hurry up so that i could go home and cry cause i guess i was depressed, cause people here tend to be more individualistic, no one cares about anyone which is so different from what i was used to, back at home(Burundi).
    Adapting to the different seasons of this country wasn’t also easy for me(i still hate winter though haha).

    And let me finish by saying that I’ve encountered racism, and this is the part you start asking yourself if being black is an issue, a question that you had never asked yourself your whole entire life and that i guess shouldn’t be asking yourself.
    Well as you can see, it hasn’t been easy for me as well, but at the end of the day let’s focus on what we want to achieve, where we wanna get and just take everything that seems like a barrier as ladder to get where we want to get to.

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    1. Wooow that must have been tough for you. And trust me I know the feeling because sometimes you feel like you are left out and get into depression. But as you are saying let’s focus on the end result that we are looking for. Thank you so much for sharing Marlene.

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  3. Ça a été la même k m3 calole…pr m3 j dvrai aussi chercher 1 study permit m les agents du government ne pouvaient pas parl l fran7…dnc j’ai du m debrouiller pr k’ils puissent m donner l permit…cla où tu realis vrt coet on est bi1 kan on est chz soi…Nice story😉

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    1. Bien sur, Il y a pas meilleur endroit que chez soi. Quelques fois ca peut etre difficilie meme stressant quand tu essayes de faire passer le message mais que ca ne passe pas. Mercii Karen de partager ton histoire.

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  4. It,s always difficult to change the way you live your life,to have new friends with different culture and language….I remember When I came to china It wasn,t that easy because I had to know how to deal with the new life I was facing but how to do if there isn,t even 30% of Chinese People who can speak English?😂😂😂…but as your Mom told you “We have to choose our friends wisely” and “Focus on our Goals”,I can add…..And as you said”There,s always a Positive side to any experience in Life”….We learn from others,we find New friends and some of them become our second Family and the new life helps us growing up because If you so far from you Family,you have to find solution to every problem you meet by Yourself.It,s a very good experience😊
    #Thank you Dear Carrelle Niyigena for Sharing😍😍

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    1. Wooow China? I can understand the struggle you had to go through. Thank you Dorine for stopping by and sharing your story.

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  5. Great post! Your mom is absolutely right about choosing your friends wisely. When I moved to Canada from St. Vincent for me it wasn’t the language but definitely the culture. I had to make many adjustments. Thanks so much for sharing your experience😊

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  6. I can’t imagine what it must be like to move to a different country on your own! The sound of it makes me feel anxious but well done you, that’s pretty amazing! The only thing that is vaguely similar is when I’ve had to go to the airport by myself and fly by myself which was absolutely scary the first time I did it but it worked out fine as expected! Lovely blog post 🙂

    Chloe xx
    http://www.chloechats.com

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  7. I remember when I reached kenya, four years ago, a part from my sister I didn’t know anyone else but the thing is that she was already in college and we could see each other during the weekend only, it was depressing. I had to struggle alone especially when it came to talk to people because of language barriers among many other challenges…thank God I met you and the rest of the team savelberg, you guys made me happy because at least we could all speak French. Miss youuu and am happy for you Carelle, your blogs are awesome.

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    1. OMG, It was so challenging, sometimes I remember and just laugh. Thank you Rachel for sharig with us your experience and I miss you too. Tha nks a lot bzu bzu

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